LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – About 300 college students took part in what may have been the largest gospel encounter in recent memory at the University of Louisville.
After Dark was eight months in the making, said Kentucky Baptist Convention Campus Missionary John Adams, but worth all the negotiations and administrative red tape to be able to talk about Jesus in a modern college setting.
The free concert and presentation was sponsored by Sojourn College, a ministry of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, and the Kentucky Baptist Campus Ministry at the University of Louisville.
“To have a larger gathering with Christians and non-Christians at an event, especially an evangelistic outreach, is almost like unheard of,” said Adams.
Of the roughly 22,500 students at the University of Louisville, Adams said only about 3 percent are part of a Christian ministry on campus.
He described U of L, located in a vastly liberal-leaning city, as one of the more challenging campuses in the state when it comes to sharing the gospel.
“The Baptist Campus Ministry wants to be a light on that campus so, even if someone doesn't agree or isn't a believer, they can see that we're intentional with our message,” Adams said. “Our hope is that will be unifying for the community.”
College campuses across the nation are examining policies after even the mere announcement of some future guest speakers has sparked violent protests. At the University of California, Berkeley, protests nearly erupted into riots in February against political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos and again in March over a pro-President Donald Trump march.
The event at the University of Louisville featured Christian speaker Joe White, president of an evangelical kids’ camp in Branson, Missouri. Modern folk singers Drew and Ellie Holcomb and hip-hop artist Tedashii provided musical entertainment.
“Because of the difficult environment of college campuses, many Christian students are quiet because they know that they could easily be targets,” Adams said. “They don't have to live in fear. There is a way to they can share their faith in a Christ-honoring and university-honoring kind of way.”
Statistics provided by the Kentucky Baptist Convention show that 95 percent of 12- to 24-year-olds in Kentucky do not profess to be an active Christian. And those who are currently active in church, 60 percent will walk away from their faith after high school.
Adams said the best response by concerned parents and grandparents is to encourage their college students to get involved in a local church.